Module Provider: Philosophy
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Pre-requisites: PP2MP Moral Philosophy
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2014/5

Module Convenor: Mrs Charlotte Newey


Summary module description:
A survey of the main theories of fairness.

To familiarize students with the leading contemporary theories of fairness. To enable students to be able to analyse and evaluate proposals that fairness is necessarily connected to other moral concepts such as impartiality, reciprocity, agreement, desert, and need. To develop students’ skills in dealing with abstract moral concepts and normative arguments. To develop students’ writing skills and their ability to make oral presentations.

Assessable learning outcomes:
An understanding of the main theories of fairness its relations to concepts such as impartiality, proportionality, need, desert, and agreement.
Assessment will be of students’ grasp of leading theories of fairness, of students’ reasoning skills their writing skills.

Additional outcomes:
Oral presentation skills will not affect mark for the module but will be a focus of comment.

Outline content:
• Fairness v. Utilitarianism
• Why is free riding on the contributions or restraint of others unfair?
• Is fairness just the application of appropriate impartiality?
• Is fairness just the proportional satisfaction of moral claims?
• What does fairness require when others aren’t doing their share?
• Does fairness require that all get what they need?
• Does fairness require that all get what they deserve?
• What is the relation of fairness to reciprocity?

Recommended Reading:
Principles of Social Justice, by David Miller. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Principles-Social-Justice-David-Miller/dp/067400714X

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module consists of three contact hours per week, with lectures, presentations, and class discussion mixed together in each hour.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Guided independent study 170
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 60
Written assignment including essay 30
Oral assessment and presentation 10

Other information on summative assessment:
Two 2500-word essays each worth 15%.

Electronic Submission
All coursework should be submitted electronically via Blackboard and in hard copy to the Philosophy office.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    The final exam, worth 70%, will be two hours in which time students will be required to answer 2 questions from a choice of 6.

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August by written examination only.

    Last updated: 8 October 2014

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